CNET News Video: 3D in the operating room
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CNET News Video: 3D in the operating room

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To a surgeon, precision is everything. As CBS News medical correspondent Jon LaPook explains, new fiber optic technology is providing a three-dimensional, lifelike image to aid in operations that include brain surgery.

[ music ] ^M00:00:05 >> For years, 3D vision has been used as a special effect for entertainment. But it's just landed a leading role in brain surgery. >> That's a great view. >> More and more procedures are being done non-invasively, with fiber optic scopes acting as the doctor's eyes and fingers. But looking at a flat monitor is not the same as looking at directly into the body. >> When you look at a TV screen, you really don't have any depth of feel, you don't know what's in front, you don't know what's behind. >> Now for the first time, fiber optic technology's providing a three dimensional lifelike image. >> This is really the state of the art of the state of the art. >> Doctor Ted Schwartz is a brain surgeon at While [assumed spelling] Cornell Medical Center in New York City. For him, being off by the width of a human hair can mean the difference between life and death. >> This really is a major step forward. It's almost like we're sitting right in the place where we're operating. >> It's the difference between seeing a photograph of the brain and the brain itself. But special goggles and software make it much more vivid than we can produce on TV. >> I wasn't able to read the eye chart out of the left eye at all. >> New York City detective Larry Perkins, a forty four year old father of two, had impaired vision because of a tumor at the base of his brain. >> You just hear tumor, you just automatically think cancer, and you figure you know, this is it, you know. Life is a little shorter than I expected it to be. >> Luckily the growth turned out to be benign. But it needed to come out. Those electrodes on his face generate an image that will help the doctor pinpoint the exact location of the growth during surgery. Slipping a thin instrument with a camera on the end into Larry's nose, doctors are able to reach the tumor through his sinuses. The key to the image? A three millimeter chip. >> It's made of an array of about a thousand lenses, and it takes the light and divides it up into two pathways, and then reconstructs the depth of field image that we see as a 3D image. >> So does it look three dimensional to you? >> Oh my, it's amazing. I mean I'm really stunned. >> Six weeks later, Larry is back on the beat. >> I'm back. >> Most of his tumor is gone, and after some radiation, he's expected to be tumor free. >> What was the first thing you saw when you opened your eyes? >> That there was no veil over the left eye any more, I saw color. >> A picture perfect technology that's transformed the way one man sees the world. >> So what's it worth to be able to see your kids more clearly now? >> [inaudible] absolutely awesome. >> Doctor John Lapook [assumed spelling], CBS News, New York. ^M00:02:30 [ music ]

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